Knowing how to travel healthy can completely make or break your trip. I once joked in my instagram description that I’m “either on a plane or at an airport”. It isn’t entirely untrue, as I travel almost full time to write about, video, and photograph my adventures here on this blog. This in turn requires a lot of energy and most of all being healthy on the road. Over the years I’ve learned the best ways to avoid sickness which have almost always worked (save for a couple hospital trips in the USA and South Africa which were unavoidable), so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so that you too can avoid travel sickness!
It may seem obvious at first glance but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget to drink a substantial amount of water whilst travelling. At home you should be drinking 2 litres of water per day but when you’re off adventuring you will inevitably be expending more water, especially if you’re walking a lot or visiting a hotter climate. Moreover be sure to check the status of tap water in the country you’re visiting in case it is not safe to drink the tap water.
Luckily someone smart had the grand idea of creating mini travel-sized hand sanitisers that you can easily pack in your bag to keep germ-free at all times. Most diseases are transmitted by our hands so this isn’t a silly idea at all – better to be safe than sorry!
When you first arrive in a new timezone it is often tempting to pass out and catch up on sleep, however the sooner you adjust to your new time zone the better. The easiest way to beat jet lag (that I have found) is to get outdoors straight away, walk around and soak up the fresh air. Again, many diseases are transmitted through air conditioning systems so be sure to spend plenty of time outdoors to counterbalance your time indoors.
While it is important to get on your new time zone ASAP, it is also important to never deprive yourself of sleep so that you don’t get run down. A 20 minute power nap is all that is needed – just set your alarm for 20 minutes later in order to get just enough sleep, but be sure not to go over and fall into a deep sleep!
While it is tempting to drink coffee at any time (not just when you travel) to avoid tiredness, it is much healthier to make the switch to tea. Tea has much less caffeine than coffee and you can also get some great flavours that are completely caffeine free. Coffee is also dehydrating, meaning that it is counteracting against your efforts to stay hydrated.
One of the worst ways to feel sluggish is by eating bad food. This is in reference to deep-fried, fatty foods with little (good) nutritional value. While you should always (always always always) treat yourself after a big day of exploring, it certainly does pay to research restaurants in advance to find somewhere healthy that can also cater to any food intolerances you may have. Nowadays you can usually read full restaurant menus online which is also a great way to ascertain whether it is within your budget.
Now I’m certainly not saying you should run to the hotel gym (hotel gyms leave a lot to be desired), but there are many other ways to keep fit while you travel. My personal favourite: dance in front of the mirror for half an hour to something sassy like Beyonce or Tay Swift’s breakup ballads. You can also do little things each day like bike riding, hiking, or the easiest of all: make it a rule to walk everywhere!
I’ve recently become a little (okay a lot) obsessed with natural remedies, particularly through oils for the skin, hair, and what we consumer for inner goodness. Some good oils to travel with include: tea tree oil (combats skin fungus and facial blemishes), lavender oil (a little on your pillow for a good night of rest), and eucalyptus oil to combat the effects of colds (used under your nose to unblock or on sore muscles for relief).
One of the easiest ways to know someone is tired or worn down is in their skin. To ensure your skin stays full of life and hydrated, you’ll need to master your skincare regime. The basics that can’t go ignored are: cleanser, toner, moisturiser and a base cream with SPF. I also love to use makeup wipes for those nights that I’m too tired to do an entire skincare regime but don’t want to fall asleep without cleansing my face!
I’m not usually one for supplements, but I know the benefits of getting enough magnesium in your body when travelling can really make a difference. Magnesium will help insomnia, loosen your muscles (crammed train and plane journeys are never fun), rehydrate your body AND combat constipation.
While travelling it is important not to skip meals as this will leave you feeling worn down, lead to binge eating and more often than not will mess up your digestive system as a result. If you don’t feel like a big breakfast in the morning, grab a green juice on the go to a) get something in your body and b) fill your body with all the goodies it needs. Green juices might not look that appealing but trust me when I say they are delicious! Be sure to opt for a blend of vegetables and fruit for sweetness.
Finally, do yourself a favour and get your hands on (or make yourself) a travel S.O.S pack. These packs come complete with first aid essentials, as well as relief from tummy bugs, constipation relief (all those French baguettes can really do it to you), and even electrolytes which are great if you’re dehydrated (or just really hungover).